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Xerox Golden Lions 10 10 48
Vodacom Blue Bulls 10 8 39
DHL Western Province 10 7 35
Toyota Free State Cheetahs 10 3 24
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Super Rugby preview – Cheetahs

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Cheetahs, Original Content, Super Rugby on 21 Feb 2012 at 12:00
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

Next we have a look at the Cheetahs, the team tipped to finish last in the South African conference this season. With a few key injuries and a few players lost to other franchises, the team might just struggle as they did last season.

Juan Smith has for all practical reason been ruled out for the season again, after yet another Achilles injury. Add to the loss of Sarel Pretorius and Riaan Viljoen, the team has lost a bit of its core leadership group.

What they have lost in experience, they found in talent in the Currie Cup last year, with Johan Goosen coming to the fore and making every single rugby supporter in the country sit up and take notice. Goosen will no doubt play for the Springboks one day, how soon though depends on how well his first season of Super Rugby goes. He has a prodigious boot on him, but the youngster might get caught out in defence and lack of decision making at this level.

Inside Goosen is where the Cheetahs will battle this season, with no clear replacement for Sarel Pretorius, the team will have to juggle Piet van Zyl and Tewis de Bruyn until one of them puts their hand up and plays well.

The Cheetahs have a sound group of loosies, even after the loss of Juan Smith, with Heinrich Brussow, Ashley Johnson and Davon Raubenheimer forming a formidable combination. The front row also looks good with Coenie Oosthuizen, Adriaan Strauss and WP Nel leading the pack from the front, and in Marcel van der Merwe , Ryno Barnes and Lourens Adriaanse they have solid depth.

The outside half of the backline is uninspiring to say the least, with the probable starting centre combination Andries Strauss and Rob Ebersohn lacking that real oomph, and they might have speed on the wings, but nobody that really stands out and scream brilliant.

Players to keep an eye on this season are definitely Johan Goosen, as mentioned above, as well as Heinrich Brussow who, if he can stay fit, should have a blinder of a season.

I suspect it will be a close race to who fills the wooden spoonists spot in the South African conference, but I suspect the men from Bloemfontein might just have that honour.


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